103 Tasting Notes

83

Upping my rating for this, really enjoying its smooth, rich, ‘comfort tea’ depth of character this morning. I’ve been starting my mornings with black teas but on a 90-plus degree day like this I wanted something lighter; this was a perfect choice. Both rich and light.

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70
drank Organic Bold Leaf Pu-erh by Wegmans
103 tasting notes

This is a bit tannic (for a puerh) without a lot of depth. It’s a mystery why they named it “Bold Leaf”.

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83

Richly flavored yet light, naturally quite sweet, toward malty. Minimal, if any, new notes on the second steep, just muted flavor. This is a no-brainer for a go-to breakfast tea that will gently and smoothly bring you into the day by awakening your taste buds with a kiss.

Note: may come in bags, per Ethos much earlier review, but I purchased it from the bulk tea bins.

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77
drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
103 tasting notes

Light yet still a well-rounded flavor and enough smoothness and body to drink it straight… I sometimes add almond milk to black tea to accomplish that. The slight caramel sweetness was just right but there was also a little perfuminess that was just a note or two too much for me to make this a staple, though I’d be happy to drink it in a restaurant.

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78
drank Cocoa Mint Maté by Tazo
103 tasting notes

This has a pleasantly subdued mint flavor; it’s not a strong mint tea. The flavor notes beyond the mint are what subdued, but they’re not clearly discernible to me. It’s a stretch to find the cocoa peel flavor, though it’s there in the fragrance and in the roundness of the flavor, but this isn’t a tea I’d reach for if I were looking for chocolate/cocoa, itself. The mate, meanwhile, is muted by the mint but it’s there.

Overall it’s a nice smooth tea and it could definitely grow on you if, like me, you’re not big on the brightness of mint tea, or if you enjoy bright mint teas but are looking for a little change-up of more complex, rounded flavor.

Looking forward to trying this iced this summer.

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64

This is a tea to drink if you’re in a hurry or focused on something else and just want some organic green tea, because while it’s inoffensive, neither is it lingering/savoring-worthy. If it weren’t organic I’d rate it lower because it really has very little personality but it’s also clean and its production doesn’t contaminate the environment so I enjoy that aspect of it.

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75

As I was scouring my mind for a taste descriptor besides buttered popcorn (unsalted), something to describe the particular vegetal note, edamame emerged as the answer, and I was pleased that I’d locked it. Then I read the description from Verdant of the growing process: “Rows of soybeans grow between the tea bushes to distract insects, and the beans are used as … fertilizer.” Whoa, floored me. Here I was thinking I’d pulled out this abstract analogy and it was totally concrete, if the tea absorbs any of its neighbor-plant through air or roots. Like scenting tea with jasmine flowers. I’m clearly no botanist but it seems plausible, and if true, makes me wonder if I’ll ever have such a bulls-eye in future reviews ;) I will not go so far, however, as to start consuming different kinds of worms, soil and fertilizer to further develop this skill.

The tea is smooth and savory, very pleasant, low-key, mild astringency.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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83

Spring’s first grass freshly mowed then gently sauteed with butter, that’s this tea. It’s a soothing, just-barely-sweet and savory green. A lot of flavor and very smooth, no edge whatsoever. Many thanks to Teavivre for the generous samples, it has been a fun tasting journey!

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81
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
103 tasting notes

This is a tea I would be delighted with if it were served to me in a restaurant… smooth and full-bodied with natural notes of simmering caramel sweetness. Just a slight astringency adds a little extra interest without being puckerish. Noteworthy dropoff in character and flavor on the second steep — making it a less remarkable cup, but the first steep is worth the price of admission. Very nice overall, thanks to Angel at Teavivre for the generous sample!

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83
drank Caramel Apple Spice by Yogi Tea
103 tasting notes

I don’t know what “Organic Caramel Flavor” is and that makes me a bit leery of this tea but just drinking it blind, on flavor characteristics alone, I’ve gotta say this is very enjoyable. Caramel apple but not that sweet. There’s a nice, fresh fruity-apple taste. It has ginger, clove and cardomom among the ingredients but they are played down entirely – this is not at all a spicy brew, but soft and fruity… those ingredients are likely what prevents the overall flavor from being too sweet. It’s a savory sweetness. Did I say yum? Smooth. This would also be excellent iced, no need for adding sugar.

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Profile

Bio

Strong preference for exploring teas au naturel, and unflavored (except for unprocessed ingredients, e.g., cocoa shells/nibs, vanilla beans, flowers, fruits…). Favorites lean in the direction of rich caramelly, malty blacks, any puerh, fresh floral oolongs and whites that have some dimension.

I am always up for swaps.

Beyond the experience of tea, I’m interested in exploring its medicinal aspects. Other interests … yoga, creative veggie cooking, environmental issues, animal welfare, music/guitar, lefty politics, preventive health/nutrition, biking, swimming, foosball, photography.

Here’s how I rate ’em:

95+: euphoria-inducing, le petite mort
91-94: extraordinary, exhilarating
85-90: delicious
81-84: definitely enjoyable
75-80: good, solid stuff
65-74: I’ll drink it, but without enthusiasm
45-64: something redeeming about it, but not much
31-44: just barely drinkable
< 30: tidy stream into the spit bucket

Location

Metro DC

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